Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Post Compounding Procedure Of Compounding Authority Under Indian FEMA Act 1999

In this special column, Mr. B.S.Dalal, Senior Partner at Perry4Law and a Techno Legal Banking and Financial Expert, is discussing the post compounding procedure for Compounding Of Contraventions Under Indian FEMA, 1999, as followed by the Compounding Authority.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is one of the Compounding Authority under the Indian Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 that compounds certain contravention under the FEMA Act 1999. The regional offices of RBI have been given compounding powers under the FEMA Act 1999.

RBI master circular on compounding of contraventions under Indian FEMA 1999 has been recently issued. It prescribes a set procedure for compounding of contraventions under Indian FEMA 1999. The compounding authority (CA) can compound contraventions committed under the FEMA Act 1999 if an application has been duly made in the prescribed manner.

Once an application has been made in prescribed manner and a compounding order has been made, the post compounding procedure starts. It is as follows:

(1) The sum for which the contravention is compounded as specified in the order of compounding under sub-rule (2) of Rule 8 of Foreign Exchange (Compounding Proceedings) Rules, 2000 is payable by way of a demand draft in favour of the “Reserve Bank of India” within fifteen days from the date of the order of compounding of such contravention. The demand draft has to be deposited in the manner as directed in the compounding order.

(2) The provisions of the Rules do not confer any right on the contravener, after a compounding order is passed, to seek to withdraw the order or to hold the compounding order as void or request a review of the order passed by the CA.

(3) In case of failure to pay the sum compounded within the time specified in the compounding order, it shall be deemed in terms of Rule 10 of the Foreign Exchange (Compounding Proceedings) Rules, 2000, that the contravener had never made an application for compounding of any contravention under these Rules.

(4) On realization of the demand draft for the sum for which contravention is compounded, a certificate in this regard shall be issued by the Reserve Bank subject to the specified conditions, if any, in the order.

(5) In respect of the contraventions of FEMA, 1999 (as defined in section 13 of the FEMA, 1999), which are not compounded by the Compounding Authority, other relevant provisions of FEMA, 1999, shall apply.

However, there are certain pre-requisites for compounding process that must be met by the contravener before a compounding order can be passed. These are as follow:

(1) In respect of a contravention committed by any person within a period of three years from the date on which a similar contravention committed by him was compounded under the Compounding Rules, such contraventions would not be compounded. Such contravention would be dealt with under relevant provisions of the FEMA, 1999 for contravention. Any second or subsequent contravention committed after the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the contravention was previously compounded shall be deemed to be a first contravention.

(2) Contraventions relating to any transaction where proper approvals or permission from the Government or statutory authority concerned, as the case may be, have not been obtained, such contraventions would not be compounded unless the required approvals are obtained from the authorities concerned.

(3) Cases of contravention, such as, those having a money laundering angle, national security concern and / or involving serious infringements of the regulatory framework or where the contravener fails to pay the sum for which contravention was compounded within the specified period in terms of the compounding order, shall be referred to the Directorate of Enforcement for further investigation and necessary action under FEMA, 1999 or to the authority instituted for implementation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002, (PMLA) or to any other agencies, for necessary action , as deemed fit.

(4) The Reserve Bank generally advises the persons concerned of their choice and option to make an application for compounding as and when such contraventions come to its notice. The facts constituting such contraventions will be brought to the notice of the Directorate of Enforcement in case no application for compounding is made within the time indicated by the Reserve Bank.